From bankruptcy and family law to criminal and civil cases, just about everyone is required to sign some type of affidavit at one point or another. These common legal documents are used in a number of proceedings — but what exactly are they? We’ll tell you.
Read on to discover all there is to know about affidavits, including what they are, how they’re used, and more.
What Is the Definition of Affidavit?
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, an affidavit, pronounced af-i-dey-vit, is a written statement made before an authorized officer (such as a police officer that is above the rank of sergeant), a judge, or a notary republic that is made under oath.
There are generally four parts to a basic affidavit which we have listed below:
- A signature from the affiant
- The attestation of the authorized official that is authorized to administer oaths; such as a notary republic or judge
- All information that is being sworn to
- A clear statement that the affiant is swearing under oath that the statements being made in the affidavit are accurate and true
What Are Some of the Common Uses for An Affidavit?
While there are quite a few varying types of affidavits out there, below you will find the skinny on the most common uses for an affidavit:
- Self-proving will affidavit — simply put, a self-proving will affidavit is when an individual signs a will and has the document notarized. Although in most cases, there must be at least two witnesses to the creator’s signature.
- Court affidavit — while a court trial most commonly calls for a witness to appear in court to give oral testimony, at times when a witness is unavailable to appear in court, an affidavit may be used to provide the witnesses testimony.
- Affidavit of identity theft — if you have unfortunately been the victim of identity theft, you will commonly be required to provide an affidavit to the credit bureaus, creditors, and/or banks certifying you were indeed the victim of identity theft.
- Affidavit of lost document — if you, unfortunately, lose an important and vital document, such as a promissory note that states you are owed money, it can oftentimes be re-established with an affidavit of lost promissory note and indemnity agreement.
- Financial affidavit — this type of affidavit is most commonly used in divorce proceedings and is used to verify the debts, income, expenses, and assets for each part. Another common use for a financial affidavit is in connection with estate planning and even loan applications.
Though these are some of the most commonly used affidavits, there are a plethora of others used within the U.S., such as:
- Affidavit of small estate
- Affidavit of death
- Affidavit of name change
- Affidavit of service
- Affidavit of divorce
- Affidavit of support
- Affidavit of heirship
- Affidavit of power of attorney
- Affidavit for juror’s expenses
- Affidavit for collection of personal property of the decedent
What Is the Word Origin of Affidavit?
First noted in the 1590’s affidavit derives from the Medieval Latin affidavit, which means — (he) has sworn an oath.
What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Affidavit?
Now that you have a better grasp on the word affidavit, let’s review a few synonyms and antonyms, shall we?
Below you will find the synonyms and antonyms of affidavit, which have been provided by Collins English Thesaurus.
Synonyms of affidavit include:
- Legal instrument
- Official declaration
- Sworn statement
- Sworn declaration
- Sacred word
- Word of honor
- Written statement
- Sworn testimony
- Sworn evidence
- Written testimony
- Two cents’ worth
- Written declaration
- Promissory note
- Straight stuff
- Smoking gun
- Official document
- Written order
- Statement of facts
- Stamp of approval
- Proof of qualifications
- Carte blanche
- Letters of credence
Antonyms of affidavit include:
- Breach of trust
- Fake promise
- Broken promise
- Counter argument
- Counter statement
How Can You Use “Affidavit” in a Sentence?
Wondering how to use our word of the day in a sentence? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few excellent sentence examples for you to review below:
“Bob swore an affidavit in support setting out his case.”
“The affidavit is certified by a notary public and basically just confirms that I signed the document.”
“I was just reading in the Washington Post this morning that they have an affidavit stating that the alleged killer was not even in the same country at the time of the murders — seems the police are back to square one on this case. “
“Did you have to sign the affidavit at work today?”
“If Amber doesn’t tell the truth in her affidavit, she could face jail time for lying under oath.”
What Are Translations of Affidavit?
Did you know that there is more than one way to say our word of the day? Yup, it’s true — here are some common translations of affidavit:
- Afrikaans — beëdigde verklaring
- Arabic — شهادة
- Bulgarian — клетвена декларация
- Chinese (simplified) — 宣誓书
- Croatian — jemstvo
- Czech — místopřísežné prohlášení
- American English — affidavit
- Danish — Erklæring
- Dutch — affidavit
- Finnish — Valaehtoinen
- French — affidavit
- German — eidesstattliche Erklärung
- Greek — ένορκη γραπτή κατάθεση
- Italian — Affidavit
- Japanese — 供述
- British English — affidavit
- Korean — 진술서
- Norwegian — Erklæringen
- Polish — Oświadczenie
- Portuguese — declaração juramentada
- Russian — аффидевит
- Spanish — declaración jurada
- Swedish — Intyg
- Thai — หนังสือ รับรอง
- Turkish — Beyanname
- Ukrainian — Свідчення
- Vietnamese — bản tuyên thệ
To recap, an affidavit is simply a written version of swearing under oath, just as one would do if they happened to be testifying before a judge in a courtroom. If you make a written statement to a recognized authority, as well as the police, and if you swear that you are being candid and true — that is an affidavit.